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Sunday August 02, 2015

Inside One Of Amazon's Most Advanced Fulfillment Centers

I'd have imagined that an Amazon warehouse would appear more crowded or chaotic, but this fulfillment center has a certain beauty to it. There is something unsettling about how the robotic personnel outnumbers the humans, though.

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At the heart of the building, items stored on tall, square shelves are kept stocked by humans working with a team of 2,000 squat orange robots. The robots zip around the storage area, picking up shelves and either arranging them in neat rows for storage or bringing them over to the human workers, who stack or pick from them.

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The Evolution Of Modern Game Controllers

Take a look at how far we’ve gone from the single button, single joystick Atari 2600 controller. I always thought the Jaguar controller was funny as a kid because I thought you could dial someone on it. Which is your favorite controller ever?

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What you'll find in the gallery below is a comprehensive look at gamepads from the past 30-plus years of gaming, including high points and missteps alike.

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An Inside Look At Disney's Bleeding-Edge Rendering Software "Hyperion"

Were you blown away by the level of lighting in Big Hero 6? Disney's newest rendering software, Hyperion, was what made much of that possible.

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Hyperion handles several million light rays at a time by sorting and bundling them together according to their directions. When the rays are grouped in this way, many of the rays in a bundle hit the same object in the same region of space. This similarity of ray hits allows us---and the computer---to optimize the calculations for the objects hit.

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See Buzz Aldrin's Travel Voucher And Customs Form From 1969

Yes, even Buzz Aldrin and the rest of the Apollo 11 crew had to sign a customs form when they returned from the moon. And yes, the cargo is more interesting than the cheap souvenirs you brought home from London or Japan.

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Make Your Own Fallout Pip Boy

Bethesda has sold out of the Fallout 4 Pip Boy Edition, but don't fret; someone has decided to release the schematic for how one can print the classic RobCo device. Like the official version, it has buttons, lights, and is meant to house a smartphone running the Fallout 4 mobile app. Just don't use it in public or people might look at you funny.

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It won't come with all the bells and whistles of the official Bethesda brand, but it's still pretty fancy with a couple or orange LED lights. It even has a tape player. I mean, it won't actually play said tapes, but it will pop open and accept them.

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Charge Your Phone With A Paper-Thin Solar Panel

While it may not be practical, charging your smartphone or other portable device with solar panels is certainly a novel idea. These paper-thin panels can actually be joined together to generate more power.

A single panel can generate about 2.5 watts of electricity, and "you can connect more panels with magnets for more power." In sunny weather, two joined panels "can fully juice an iPhone 6 in about two and a half hours."

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hitchBOT Found Dead In Philadelphia

The hitchBOT was a Canadian robot that would "hitchhike" by being driven or picked up by random people. In July, it began an attempt to journey from Boston to San Francisco, but that trip has just been cut short---someone in Philly decided to tear its head and arms off. Now I won't feel as bad when a robot guns me down in the future.

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The goal of the hitchhiking trip was to see how humans would interact with hitchBOT. And apparently the answer was "not well." HitchBOT has been around the world, including trips across the entirety of Canada and Germany without major incident. But America is clearly a hard land for our robot brothers and sisters.

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Get Rid Of Unwanted Apps In Windows 10 With PowerShell

Here is a guide for those of you who are intent on eradicating modern apps from Windows 10 but haven't figured out how. With just a command or two, you should be able to get rid of Calendar, People, Photos, and other apps you don't want.

Run the 'Remove-AppxPackage PackageFullName' command. If you want to remove the People app from Windows 10, for example, you'd run 'Remove-AppxPackage Microsoft.People_1.10241.0.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe'.

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Microsoft Patents New Gesture Unlock That Will Only Work For You

Gestures are simplistic in nature and do not bring much security, but Microsoft wants to change that with biometric information. I think this would definitely improve the reliability of gestures, but it could also increase the likelihood of someone getting locked out of their own device.

Microsoft has now patented a new technique which captures biometric information such as finger position, finger length, angle between fingers and more to provide authentication information with a simple gesture and to make sure it is actually you making the unlock request.

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The Russian Woodpecker Is A Giant Radar Array In Chernobyl

Chernobyl is fascinating. It's a ghost town, but there's so much cool stuff still standing. Take, for instance, this massive radar array, which was so powerful that it could see over the horizon and annoy countries around the world.

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Google Asked To Remove 18 Pirate Links Every Second

"Enough already!" This news follows Google's introduction of a new algorithm last year that would significantly downrank copyright-infringing sites, but apparently it hasn't been enough to reduce the wants and needs of groups like the RIAA and MPAA.

Just last week Google received a record breaking 12.5 million reported links in seven days, showing that the surge in notices is still ongoing. The BPI and RIAA are among the most active senders of DMCA takedown requests. Together, the music groups have sent notices for 5.5 million URLs over the past month, which represents 12% of all requests.

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Find Out How Busy That Store Or Restaurant Is With This Sensor And App

As someone who can't stand crowded (read: noisy) places, I very much welcome this kind of tech and can't wait for its potential ubiquity. The Density is basically a door sensor that sends and shares population data to the cloud.

The device can be placed in storefront entrances to measure the inflow and outflow of people—giving business owners historical and real-time data of daily foot traffic.

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Meet Facebook’s Stratospheric Internet Drone

Check out Facebook Connectivity Lab's boomerang-shaped carbon fiber drone Aquila, which runs on solar power and will bring Internet connectivity to those who are beyond the reach of today's telecommunications infrastructure.

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Saturday August 01, 2015

The Boxfish Could Lead To Better Body Armor And Flexible Electronics

Boxfish are insanely cool marine fish that are not only eye catching but have unique defensive capabilities, such as poison secretion through the skin and armor-like scales. Researchers believe that replicating the complex structure of the latter could lead to flexible yet very strong materials for armor, robots, and even electronics.

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The boxfish’s hard frame and flexible body make it an ideal animal to study for inspiration for armor materials. The hexagon-shaped scales are called scutes. They are connected by sutures, similar to the connections in a baby’s skull, which grow and fuse together as the baby grows.

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Google Is Advertising Their Photos App With A Food Truck

Google is literally rolling out their Google Photos promotion this week in the form of food trucks that will give you free food after completing a challenge. They are in NYC now but will deploy in Portland, LA, and Austin next.

Basically, you'll be given a challenge to find a photo based on a keyword search, and if you can do it fast enough, you get a free waffle.

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Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Is Ready For Combat

It's been a long journey, but the advanced stealth multirole has achieved operational capability. The original prototype took off nearly a decade ago in 2006, and more than half a trillion dollars later, the marines officially have something new and deadly to play with. Now someone just needs to call up Kenny Loggins and give it a rocking tune.

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The Marines plan on buying 420 total jets, a mix of 340 B and 80 C models. The first F-35B deployment is scheduled to take place in 2017, with the unit known as VMFA-121 moving to Iwakuni, Japan.

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Apple Music Is A Mess

Whelp. I couldn't have imagined that Apple would have another Maps-level disaster on their hands.

Longtime Apple watcher Jim Dalrymple wrote about his experiences last week, saying that the Apple Music app on his phone deleted more than 4,000 songs after presenting a bunch of confusing options that were hard to override.

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Take A Virtual Tour Of The International Space Station

Hate the idea of traveling 250 miles above earth or floating aimlessly in microgravity? Then check out this virtual tour of the ISS, which lets you inspect its complexities in the comfort of your pajamas.

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World Population Expected To Reach 9.7 Billion By 2050

If only we could beam people to Kepler-452b, eh? Projections like these aren't necessarily reliable, but they at least serve as a reminder to just how populated our planet is.

It's not an increase in fertility that's driving the growth. It's longer lifespans. Globally, people born today are expected to live to age 70, but people born in 2050 will live to age 77. Their grandkids born in 2100 will live even longer: 83 years.

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The NYC Subway Runs On Technology That Is Nearly 100 Years Old

Hey, it may be severely old and outdated, but the equipment that runs the NYC subway manages to exude a certain beauty. Still, a massive undertaking is required to deal with an increasing ridership and safety issues.

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As anyone who lives in New York City knows, the subway is far from perfect, but it's frankly incredible it works at all with this ancient equipment.

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Company To Deliver Weed Via Drone

I wonder what the FAA will think about this? What if someone shoots down the drone and smokes all of your product?

Trees is a Bay-area startup that combines the novelty of selling box kits with the functionality of California's medical marijuana industry and the enduring gimmick of drone delivery.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake Will Include Dramatic Changes

As a big fan of the original, I was hoping that the Final Fantasy VII remake would mostly be a graphical upgrade that would faithfully recreate the experience of the original and, at most, add a few locales and items here and there. But Director Tetsuya Nomura seems to have much bigger plans.

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Dramatic changes, but still recognizable? Well, what could it be? Active Time Battle is probably out, and Nomura hinted that he plans to take hints from...ugh, the 2005 movie, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

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People Sleep, Shower, Use Toilet With Their Phones

Most folks seem addicted to their smartphones, and Motorola's new survey shows how far people have gone. Who the heck showers with their phone?

One in six smartphone users said they used their phones while showering, and more than half---54 percent---said they would reach for the smartphone before saving their cat in the event of a fire.

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Real-Life Mission: Impossible Tech

Tom Cruise is back on the big screen this week in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. Per franchise tradition, there is a bit of radical tech used in the film---but did you know that a lot of them actually exist?

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While much of that is just Hollywood running wild with its imagination, the truth is, some Mission: Impossible tech has actually become reality. Google, BMW, and even crafty thieves have taken concepts from the film and made them happen in real life.

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The History Of The Windows Start Button

The Start menu is pretty much synonymous with Windows nowadays, but do you know how it became the operating system's defining feature?

Oran only worked at Microsoft from 1992 to 1994, but he arguably had a massive influence on the Windows team when he was charged with coming up with a better way to interact with the OS. His solution was to create one button that led Windows 95 users to everything.

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Friday July 31, 2015

[H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews

Today is Friday and you know what that means! It is time once again for the [H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews! For anyone that might have missed them, we like to take a quick look back on the hardware evaluations and articles we posted earlier in the week. We kicked the week off with our AMD Radeon R9 Fury X 4K video card review, followed by our Intel / Micron Live Reporting - 3D XPoint Memory article. Finally, we wrapped things up with our evaluation of the Corsair Obsidian Series 750D Airflow Series.

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Team [H]ardOCP iRacing 24 Hours of Spa

Listen up guys! Team [H]ardOCP iRacing will be racing the 24 Hours of Spa tomorrow at 9am Eastern. The Twitch stream will be live HERE and there will be a play by play in this forum thread.

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[H]ardware Round-Up II

Cases: Case Mod Friday @ ThinkComputers

ETC.: Intel Core i7-5775C @ CowcotLand

Kingston HyperX Cloud II Pink @ APH Networks

Logitech G29 Driving Force @ PC Perspective

Storage: Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB @ Technogog

Making The Jump To Windows 10

The crew at HotHardware has put together a guide to migrating to Windows 10. Definitely worth a look if you haven't made the jump yet.

The upgrade cycle begins, with Microsoft’s latest operating system--the highly anticipated Windows 10--rolling out over Windows Update for free, for users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. For those that are ready to take the plunge over the weekend, there are some things to note. While this guide is by no means exhaustive, there are some useful reminders here as well as some potential pitfalls that may rear their ugly head during the upgrade process.

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Car Versus Drones

This video would have been way better if it featured a car with some balls but the concept is kinda cool anyway.

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